Why is it important for evangelicals to become familiar with critical approaches to the Pentateuch?

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It's important for evangelicals to be familiar with critical approaches to Scripture because particularly the Pentateuch, because a lot has been written about the Pentateuch, and for any evangelical who's preaching and teaching from this part of the Bible, you're going to want to read the commentaries, you're going to want to read literature, secondary literature, about it, and if you're not familiar with the critical approaches, it's not going to make a lot of sense. It's a little bit like learning a language. Let's say you want to go to Spain. You love Spain, you want to travel there, but you know no Spanish at all. You're going to have a hard time when you go to Spain, if you know absolutely no Spanish. Well, it's a little bit like an evangelical who is trying to study the Pentateuch. As you become familiar with the language of critical scholarship, it will make more sense to you, and you will gain a deeper appreciation of the Pentateuch not always agreeing with what you're reading, but you will be learning from a wider variety of people. And I think it's important for evangelicals to be reading people that we don't always agree with, because we have things to learn from them.

Answer by Dr. David Lamb

Dr. David Lamb is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Biblical Seminary in Hatsfield, PA.